Photo from Flickr by stevensnodgrass, Some Rights Reserved
In the early nineties I was inspired by an ad agency with which I worked to start my own marketing business. I made the decision to begin a consulting company focused on providing marketing solutions and founded New Incite in April of 1997. Seventeen years later, here are some of the things I love about what I do.
1. I help businesses and organizations grow and change.
Sometimes it’s about finding new revenue sources or a different or better way to tell the story that helps my clients grow. Sometimes it’s advising them to focus on what they’re good at and let go of extra activities that don’t serve their core competency. Sometimes it’s identifying where they are wasting money (today common marketing wastes are PPC ads, paying for SEO, and printing materials that can be emailed or accessed online). No matter what the consulting assignment is, if I can provide new insight for their marketing or business and incite them to positive change, I have succeeded.
2. I focus on solutions.
One of my sayings is, “I want to be part of the solution, not part of the problem.” Too often in business we are mired in the way it’s always been done. We may be part of the problem, not working on a solution. Even if you see a way to do things better, it can be hard to convince management or your boss to make a change. Consultants are usually hired to work on a solution. They have an assignment to fulfill that usually requires change. Now, it’s true that some hire consultants and never do what the consultant advises (this continues to boggle the mind of consultants!). But, for the most part, consultants provide solutions to their clients.
3. I get to transfer my knowledge so that the world is a better place.
I always transfer what I know to my clients. Hoarding knowledge is not a win-win situation for consultants. And, it’s not like I’m a know-it-all by any means. Sometimes my knowledge is learned on the fly. For example, I worked with a non-profit a couple of years ago. I didn’t have a lot of experience in the space, but I did a ton of research as I worked with them. I found out that leading non-profits had abandoned their expensive, glossy, print financial reports and had begun posting beautiful multi-media reports online. This saved my client thousands – tens of thousands – of their most precious resource – money needed to support their programs and staff to serve disabled children and their families.
4. I have a new challenge every day.
If I’m not working on a client situation, I have my own marketing and business operations to run. Marketing has been changed dramatically in the last ten years (really longer than that, due to the disruptive innovation of the Internet). As a result, I must constantly learn new things to stay current on technologies and trends. That’s one reason I became certified in Inbound Marketing in 2009. And, every client is different. While I specialize in working with geeks, scientists and engineers, typically in manufacturing, software or technology companies, each one has different people, culture, target markets, products and services. I thrive as a person who can explore new territories and learn new things, so this is ideal for me.
5. I get to choose with whom I work.
I think we do choose the companies and bosses that we work for. If an employee is in a challenging or even miserable situation, it was actually their choice to be there. As I look back, I can see patterns in the people I worked for. I chose them for a reason! Now, as a consultant (and with some years of experience and perspective), I can assess the prospective clients I meet and evaluate what it would be like to work with them. I have learned the hard way to say “no” when initial meetings and conversations are difficult. Having said that, I believe the law of attraction is at work for me as a consultant. As I put my messages and beliefs out in the world through networking, this blog and social media marketing, I attract people who like what I say. I’m happy to have a lot of good, smart clients who are doing good for their communities, other businesses and the world.
6. I actually like other consultants and give back to the profession.
I’m a past President for the Association for Strategic Planning and the Institute of Management Consultants Los Angeles chapters. I have served on national boards and committees for both organizations (and locally for others). I give back to the consulting community, running programs and workshops to help other consultants and student consulting clubs learn about the profession. Consultants are a funny hybrid of entrepreneurs and corporate misfits. For some reason, the corporate world just doesn’t cut it, and consultants know there is more to be had on their own. The consultants who commit to the career are for the most part incredibly smart and willing to work independently. It’s not easy, so professional consultants also must have determination and drive.